Pau, 5 November – Two of the world’s best exponents of the Dressage phase are sharing the lead at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), the eagerly awaited finale to the 2010 HSBC FEI Classics.
Karin Donckers (BEL), who only just missed an individual medal at the recent Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, was the first of the field of 38 to score below 50, and about an hour later there were no surprises when Britain’s Ruth Edge equalled her score of 41.8 penalties.
Their two horses have contrasting experience: Donckers’s Lamicell Charizard, who she bought as a two-year-old from racing sales in Germany, is now 10 and contesting his first CCI4; Edge’s 17-year-old Two Thyme won Luhmühlen in 2007 and led the Dressage at Burghley this year before a Cross-Country refusal put paid to their chances.
Lausanne, 3 November – The 2010 HSBC FEI Classics are set to come to a thrilling climax this weekend (November 4-7) at Les Etoiles de Pau in south-west France.
Three out of four of this season’s CCI4* winners are entered for what promises to be the closest finale yet to the series in which the leading rider will scoop a fabulous US$150,000.
William Fox-Pitt (GBR), the inaugural HSBC FEI Classics winner in 2008, leads the table with a win at Kentucky (on Cool Mountain) and a second placing at Burghley (on Seacookie), but he is not invincible, and will need to achieve a high placing at Pau on Navigator if he is to stay ahead of the chasing pack.
Fellow CCI4* winners Paul Tapner (AUS) and Sharon Hunt (GBR) are both entered; only the Burghley victor, Caroline Powell (NZL), is absent, but her 21 points may well be enough to keep her in the top five money-earning places.
5 September 2010 – Caroline Powell rode a perfect Jumping round under pressure to become the first New Zealand female rider to win the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), the fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics.
The win has propelled her into third place in the HSBC FEI Classics, behind William Fox-Pitt (GBR), the new leader, and Andreas Dibowski (GER) with one event left, Les Etoiles de Pau in France in November, where Fox-Pitt has already declared a possible runner in Navigator.
Powell, 37, did not put a foot wrong all weekend on the 17-year-old Lenamore, who stands only 15.2hh. “He was such a wee star,” she said.
“The owner, Lexi Mackinnon, is getting married next week. I’d told her that I hadn’t got her a wedding present and that I’d try and win Burghley for her! I can’t believe that’s come off.”
3 September 2010 – Ruth Edge (GBR) and the 17-year-old Two Thyme lead the clutch of superbly executed Dressage tests which brought the first phase of the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), the fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics, to a close today.
However, Edge, a renowned exponent of this phase, has just 0.4 of a penalty in hand over New Zealander Caroline Powell, who scored a career best on another 17-year-old, the evergreen Lenamore, and defending champions Oliver Townend and Carousel Quest, who produced the only other sub-40 penalty test, are a further 0.5 of a penalty behind in third.
Two Thyme is only competed sparingly these days – his last Cross-Country run was in June – but Edge has prepared him specifically for his first crack at the Land Rover Trophy.
“He always tries so hard,” said Edge, whose previous best placing at Burghley was 17th on Marsh Mayfly in 2006. “He’s on great form and feels really up for it.”
2 September 2010 – Mary King (GBR) showed all her experience to take the lead after an eventful first day of Dressage at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR), the fourth leg of the HSBC FEI Classics.
King, 49, has been riding at Burghley for more than 20 years – she won it in 1996 on Star Appeal – but a momentary lapse in concentration which meant she had to correct an error of course will have cost her valuable marks.
Riding the 14-year-old white-faced chestnut Apache Sauce, fourth here in 2008, she missed part of the final canter work and, on arriving at halt, had to be interrupted by Ground Jury member Marilyn Payne (USA).
“I haven’t done that for years,” a smiling King said afterwards, confessing to a “blonde moment”.
31 August 2010 – Paul Tapner (AUS) and William Fox-Pitt (GBR) are the riders with most to gain from a big result at this weekend’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (GBR, September 2-5). It is the fourth leg of the 2010 HSBC FEI Classics, which carries a prize-pot of US$333,000 to be shared by the five most successful riders across five CCI4* events.
The current standings leader, Andreas Dibowski (GER), who has a healthy 7-point lead over this year’s Badminton and Lexington winners, is an absentee from Burghley, and Tapner and Fox-Pitt are poised to pounce.
Tapner, who looks set to make his debut on the Australian squad at the forthcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, has two horses with useful CCI4* form: Kilfinnie, 15th last year, and Stormhill Michael, 10th at Badminton.
16 June 2010 – Paul Tapner (AUS), the joint leader of the HSBC FEI Classics after two events, heads for Germany this weekend (June 17-20) with the prospect of extending his advantage at the series’ third leg, Luhmühlen (GER) presented by E.ON Avacon.
Tapner, who rides Kilfinnie, recent runner-up in the CIC3* at Bramham (GBR), has an exciting chance to slip ahead in the rankings, which carry a US$150,000 first prize to the most successful rider across the five CCI4* events; Kentucky winner William Fox-Pitt (GBR), with whom he shares the lead in the HSBC FEI Classics, does not have a ride here.
However, Tapner faces pressure from two other riders handily placed in the HSBC FEI Classics: last year’s Luhmühlen runner-up, Andreas Dibowski (GER), who is still chasing his first CCI4* victory, brings FRH Fantasia, and Mary King (GBR) rides her home-bred mare Kings Temptress, sixth here last year, and the experienced Apache Sauce, recent runner-up at Tattersalls CIC3-W (IRL).
2 May 2010 – Paul Tapner (AUS) was clearly overjoyed as he came through the finish line at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) on his second ride, Inonothing. His celebrations were more than justified as, after an enthralling and dramatic Cross Country day, he found himself in the lead at a 4-star event for the first time.
The track at Badminton, the second leg of the HSBC FEI Classics, proved as enigmatic as ever, taking its fair share of high-profile scalps, including all the top five riders after Dressage.
“I was aware that there were quite a lot faults occurring,” said British-based Tapner, 34, who was equal 11th after Dressage. “But after I’d ridden my first horse (Stormhill Michael, 12th) I had a roast lunch and then a sleep in the lorry and tried to forget about it. Inonothing is a unique horse to ride across country; he’s so small and nippy.”
If Tapner wins tomorrow, he will be the third Australian rider to do so in the last four years, following Andrew Hoy (2006) and Lucinda Fredericks (2007).
25 April 2010 William Fox-Pitt (GBR) said he did not come to the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event with the expectation of winning, but, once in the driving seat, he was clearly not going to relinquish the golden opportunity without a fight and he now has his first Rolex watch to complement his seven other 4-star wins.
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) aboard Cool Mountain on their way to victory in the first leg of the HSBC FEI Classics™ at Lexington,KY (USA). Click on image for larger view.
And, with the choice of three good rides – Idalgo, Macchiato and Sea Cookie – at next weekend’s Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, he could gain a commanding advantage in the HSBC FEI Classics™, an award he won in its inaugural year in 2008.
Cool Mountain, his winning ride at Kentucky, is a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding by the prolific Eventing sire Primitive Rising. This was his 4-star debut, having won at 3-star level, at Blair Castle (GBR) last year and been consistent throughout his career.
“He is a pleasure to train,” said Fox-Pitt. “He is very straightforward and genuine, and I have always felt there was more to come. I am absolutely thrilled with him, though – to win is beyond my wildest dreams.”
Fox-Pitt’s nearest rival, Kimberley Severson (USA) had a most unfortunate Jumping round – a total of 32 faults (24 jumping, 12 time) and plummeted to 25th, and it was the 2008 winner, Phillip Dutton (USA), who rose three places to 2nd on Woodburn with a clear round.
Becky Holder (USA) retained 3rd place on Courageous Comet with just one rail, but Boyd Martin’s meteoric rise continued, up another four places to 4th on Neville Bardos, and Canadian Stephanie Rhodes-Bosch and Port Authority continued upwards, to eventual 5th place with a clean sheet. In addition, she won the HSBC Training Bursary for the best-placed first-time 4-star competitor.
Oliver Townend (GBR) was discharged from hospital in the morning, but having sustained minor injuries, could not jump his ODT Master Rose and so withdrew.
37 horses completed the competition with 9 clear Jumping rounds.